Japan Accelerates Deployment of Enhanced Long-Range Missiles for Strategic Deterrence

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Type 12 surface-to-ship guided missiles are seen in Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture, in April.

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force will deploy improved Type 12 surface-to-ship guided missiles starting in fiscal 2025, a year earlier than originally planned, Defense Minister Minoru Kihara said Friday.

These upgraded guided missiles are domestically produced long-range missiles that will become a cornerstone of Japan’s counterstrike capabilities, with the aim of rapidly enhancing deterrence and response capabilities against China and North Korea.

The improved version of the Type 12 surface-to-ship guided missile is planned to extend its range from just over 100 kilometers to well over 1,000 kilometers. From its initial development, the plan was to deploy the ground-launched missile from fiscal 2026. However, Kihara instructed his ministry to consider moving up this schedule.

At a press conference, Kihara explained that the reason for moving up the deployment was to “embody the urgent need to acquire practical stand-off defensive capabilities as soon as possible.”

The government also plans to deploy the U.S.-made Tomahawk cruise missiles a year ahead of schedule, beginning in fiscal 2025.